Student with Teacher
A recent morning started with “Character Education” at Cherokee Middle School. Once a month, people of the community (including four from Campbell UMC!) come to Cherokee to lead a half-hour character lesson in a classroom.
I have a clever and insightful group of sixth graders this year. I also have some fairly substantial mutton chop sideburns at the moment, because I am in Springfield Little Theater’s production of Les Miserables. Needless to say, mutton chop sideburns elicit a reaction from sixth graders. It was definitely an “ice-breaker.”
At the end of our lesson, a boy named Tristan asked me if I was going to keep the sideburns after the show. I told him that I would if it catches on as a fashion trend.
“NO!” he said, “If it catches on, that’s when you DON’T want to do it because then you’re just doing what everyone else is. You want to be doing your own thing.”
Yeah, there’s your character education, right there!
My second meeting of the day took me to Room 123, where I met with our three three-year-old classes from our congregation's daycare/preschool. It is “Community Helper” week for them, and I had been invited to share with the littles about what I do to help people.
I told them my name and what I do, and told them that I help people by helping them think about God and learn about God and know that God loves us and is with us all the time. I put on my robe and let them look at the symbols on my stole. I showed them a Bible and told them that we use it to learn about God and read stories about God and so forth.
I also brought a hymnal to show them, and told them that one of the things we do when we are with God is to sing. So then we sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “This Little Light of Mine.”
When our time was up, I asked who remembered my name. Most of them did, which was fun. Then I asked, “And who can remember what I do to help people?”
A little girl raised her hand. When I called on her, she paused kind of shy like three-year-olds do sometimes, then she said very softly, “You help us sing.”
And I thought, “I’m good with that.”
When I was ordained, I promised to “diligently instruct the children in every place.” But even better is when the children instruct me.
The Rev. Andy Bryan is pastor of Campbell UMC in Springfield, MO.